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Random Thoughts on Cultivating Your Garden in the Corporate Age

October 14, 2009

Ran across this post by Joe Bageant today where he talks about the dehumanizing aspects of the corporation and what we can do to remove our necks from under their boots. The conclusion seems to be not a whole hell of a lot. Trying to change them is a Sisyphean labor because any solution that threatens the status quo will be quickly co-opted and sold back to the masses, forcing reformers to start all over again. And as Bageant reminds us, we are all at least partly to blame for the current predicament.

Given that corporations own and dominate the needs hierarchy, I don’t see any mass uprising. Especially when we consider that the moving parts of those corporations are perfectly nice people just as unconscious as the rest of the nation. They are simply going to work every day and doing their jobs and taking care of their families and doing everything according to the directions issued by god and the manufacturers of society. Doing what our educational system trained them to do and what their parents, their church and their high school civics teacher taught them was right. Just like the millionbs of people they are fucking over so badly.

The best we can hope for is to better ourselves and learn to see the world around us as it really is, and maybe the example we set will rub off on somebody else.

One tried and true solution, of course, is self realization and inner liberation. Seeing the world with the cold eyes of the simplest and purest sort of awareness, and a fiery compassionate heart. Seeing the world without illusion, which is very hard and constant work. Then keeping it personally unto ourselves. Keeping our traps shut about it but acting individually upon what we see before our eyes each day, and not according to the consensus of those around us.

That reminded me of Voltaire’s Candide who grew disillusioned with the optimism of his tutor Dr. Pangloss who taught that ‘All was for the best in this best of all possible worlds’. After setting out to see the world for himself and being confronted with disaster, famine, death and the general banality of evil of which humankind is capable, Candide realized that the best we can do to combat the nastiness is to each cultivate our own garden. Or as Scott Horton puts it in this post about Candide and a similar work by Samuel Johnson –

For Johnson and Voltaire, this garden begins in the mind, but it does not end there. The duty to cultivate passes as well to the sphere of human interaction, to the recognition of common bands with family, community, nation and humankind.


In the end both works are concerned with a philosophy of life. How should we use our lives? How do we allocate our lives between the vita activa and the vita contemplativa? What duties do we owe those around us? They ask, consider different answers, and ask again. They promise no ultimate answers. But they warn us against a life that falls into the mundane rut of the careerist, the money-maker, the shallow figure obsessed with the mercurial promises of beauty, pleasure, and fame. They admonish to skepticism, to a philosophical disposition, but also to engagement.

So how does one go about cultivating a garden in the modern age when the ambient white noise of the corporate world has become deafening and drowns out anyone who tries to get a word in edgewise? It would be a mistake to think that Voltaire lived in simpler and more innocent times. There has never been a shortage of psychopaths seeking to improve their positions and by the time Voltaire wrote Candide, Europeans seeking ever greater monetary profit had already
eradicated entire human populations in the Caribbean and driven whole species to extinction off the African coast. But back then it took a lot more work to do so much damage. Today rather than sending many men on perilous, months long voyages to perform their grisly tasks, far greater damage can be inflicted by remote vehicles operated from the safety of one’s comfortable office while sipping a nice warm latte. Or if the pen rather than the sword becomes the preferred weapon of subjugation, the likes of Rupert Murdoch are now able to propagandize millions and billions of people on all continents in the blink of an eye. And never mind the metaphor of the garden for a moment – how does one even cultivate a literal garden in this modern world when the nefarious deeds of corporate bad actors are so pervasive that they change the very climate of our little blue dot making it more and more difficult to cultivate and grow much of anything?

It may very well be that despite all our rage at the injustice of it all, we who dissent are still just rats in a cage at least for the time being and the best we can do is wait it out. Our current system of corporate governance is a relatively new phenomenon and we human beings have managed to muddle through without it for most of our time on this earth and can certainly do so again. It is arrogance and hubris that leads to so many believing that ours is the best country with the best system of governance despite all evidence to the contrary, and that hubris will be our undoing as it has been for so many others throughout history. So on this cool autumn day, sit back on the porch and sip a tall glass of homemade iced tea while taking in a good book and waiting for the empire to fall. And it will, just as surely as the leaves ablaze with red and orange descend from the maples. By the time our empire goes the way of that of Ozymandias, you may have acquired the knowledge and wisdom to contribute to whatever replaces the current bankrupt system.

But before we head to the comment section to further document the empire’s decline, I ask our vast readership one question. What do you see when you look at the painting at the top of this post?

Is it the image of Voltaire, the man who helped usher in an age of enlightenment and reason?

Or is it slaves in a market waiting helplessly to be sold?

40 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    October 14, 2009 10:26 am

    I definite do not agree with the totality of the Boston Globe op ed about hubris I linked to above, especially this part:

    The fact of the matter is that whenever anything really significant has been accomplished by our government, it is precisely because it was better than the American people.

    I’d argue that the opposite has often been true – it’s the people who finally got fed up enough to force the government to enact policies that the oligarchs didn’t really want. The abolitionist, suffragist, and civil rights movements come to mind. But right now the people seem particularly docile in the face of impending calamity and the conclusion of the op ed was spot on:

    Arrogance in an individual is unbecoming. It is no more becoming for a nation. The Greeks understood that the gods punished mortals for their hubris – for feeling that they were godlike. They knew that overweening pride preceded a fall. One suspects that nations are no more immune to punishment than individuals. A nation that brooks no criticism, a nation that feels it is always better than any other, a nation that has to be endlessly flattered and won’t face the truth, a nation whose people think they possess some special moral exemption and wisdom, a nation without humility is a nation spoiling for calamity.

    We’ve been living in a fool’s paradise. The result may be a government that is as good as the American people, which is something that should concern everyone.

  2. Stemella permalink*
    October 14, 2009 10:28 am

    Ahhh, Dali. He saw the same tragicomedy in his time. Perfect post for the painting and vice versa.

    I’ve been thinking about Pangloss too of late, particularly after I read this piece

    Why ‘positive thinking’ is neither It is an interview about the effect of the cult of positive thinking in our modern corporate lives, how it has been used to manipulate the masses and maintain the status quo power structures.

    Whether the Dutch corporatists of yore, the original pirates being the first multinational corporations and movers of resources and bullion, or the banksters and their MNC subsidiaries they are the same beasts with the same instincts and motivations. The method of transfer via microfiber cable has accelerated as has the drone replaced the cannonball. The intent and result is all the same. Pillage and rape.

    And yes, sadly, we observers, whether aware or ignorant, are indeed part of the enslaved and caged. We do have the choice to fight it, to take the risk of action, perhaps having an impact, perhaps not, paying a price no matter what. That is the choice that has faced everyone living under a government that needs a revolution. Increasingly, we too are being forced into making that decision.

    • cometman permalink*
      October 14, 2009 10:55 am

      I really like Barabara Ehrenreich. I caught this similar article by her earlier today. All this bushwa about positive thinking reminds me of an article I read a while back that I wish I could put my finger on. It was a study done of disgruntled workers, mostly at oil companies IIRC. Anyhow, the study showed that the “happy” people just went about their business without questioning much while the disgruntled tended to be those who saw problems arising early that needed to be dealt with to keep things running smoothly but were stymied in their efforts.

      Definitely doesn’t make me much happier to know that the Cassandra’s will probably always be ignored while the “happy” people are quite similar to the captain of the Titanic ;)

    • cometman permalink*
      October 14, 2009 12:01 pm

      Regarding unfounded optimism again, while I do wear a variety of different colored clothing this has always been my favorite song from Johnny Cash.

  3. cometman permalink*
    October 14, 2009 10:40 am

    The US isn’t the only nation suffering from hubris. Paul Craig Roberts notes Israel is right there with the US in the arrogance and hypocrisy department. He gets a little shrill, especially about the possible implications of the new hate crime legislation, but I have to say I’m right there with him in thinking it was a bunch of unnecessary, politically correct clap trap that will likely not have the consequences it was intended to. Most crimes are not committed coldly and dispassionately and involve some element of dislike or hatred for the victim. All the perpetrators deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law for serious crimes like murder, but they should be punished equally and not in accordance with whether their victims were part of their own tribe or not.

  4. cometman permalink*
    October 14, 2009 11:02 am

    Here’s a snapshot of what denizens of the Milky Way can look forward to in about 3 billion years – Hubble captures the collision of galaxies.

  5. artemis54 permalink
    October 14, 2009 12:34 pm

    Speaking of beating the odds, David Suzuki is a recipient of the 2009 Right Livelihood Award.

    I want to see some heads exploding.

    • cometman permalink*
      October 14, 2009 1:07 pm

      I should have read your post before making the comment below about the Nobel Prize. These are exactly the kind of people who Taibbi mentions should be getting the peace prize, as opposed to those who just think about maybe using some diplomacy some time in the indeterminate future as an alternative to rushing in with guns blazing.

  6. cometman permalink*
    October 14, 2009 1:02 pm

    Matt Taibbi on Obama’s Nobel Prize. Ouch.

  7. cometman permalink*
    October 14, 2009 1:19 pm

    Great post from Chris Floyd discussing the revelation that Mussolini was paid early on by the MI5 and how the West never ever seems to learn about the blowback that invariably comes from using proxy strongmen as agents in the quest to expand their empires. He concludes:

    Obama has also given the ritual green light to Saudi Arabia to continue its long-running religious tyranny with ever-eager American support. The ultimate blowback from the cynical meddling in Egypt and Saudi Arabia could well dwarf the monstrous results in Iraq. (Where, of course, the same policy is continuing, with the American-installed regime of “strongman” Nouri al-Maliki taking on the Saddam/Mubarak/Shah role.)

    From Mussolini to Mubarak — there is nothing new under the sun, as the Preacher saith. Nothing new, that is, except for the fresh graves of the unique, unrepeatable, individual lives snuffed out by the venality and inhumanity of our ruling elites.

    • Stemella permalink*
      October 15, 2009 9:16 am

      I give up.

      I must find drugs.



  8. cometman permalink*
    October 15, 2009 6:46 am

    Never liked the often unquestioned meme that anything that increases the efficiency of markets is inherently a good thing. “Efficiently” matching sellers and buyers is often just financial-speak for providing conmen with a mark. Naked Capitalism has a good post on how the “efficiency” meme may be used to render the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency toothless before it even gets off the ground- When a Politician Praises “Efficiency,” Hang on to Your Wallet .

    Now why does this idea deserve critical scrutiny? Well, for instance, disclosure, ranging from product labels to SEC filings, is inefficient. Anything that helps public safety is inefficient. Democracy is inefficient.

    Moreover, if you put on your systems design hat, too much efficiency is a VERY bad thing. A highly efficient system, as Richard Bookstaber reminded us in his A Demon of Our Own Design, suffers from “tight coupling,” which means that activities propagate through the system so rapidly that they cannot be interrupted. That in turn means it is very easy for processes to amplify and spin out of control. Systems designers give safety and stability top priority, and efficiency second.

    And now we have “efficiency” possibly turning the Consumer Financial Protection Agency legislation into a Trojan horse to gut state oversight of banking. It was the states, not the Feds, that went after a host of abuses, starting with dot com stock touting to auction rate securities to dubious mortgage lending practices.

    The row started when Representative Melissa Bean of Illinois, who sits on the House Financial Services Committee, added an amendment to the draft bill (which could come to a vote today, call your rep!) that would bar states from having measures tougher than the Federal standards.


    And of course, the real point of this exercise is obvious. It is is much more “efficient” for banks to assert their control over the country at the Federal level, where they have already made impressive inroads, than to have to also deal with rearguard efforts from pesky and persistent state officials.

    More on the attempt by lobbyists to weaken regulation here from Washington’s Blog.

    Haven’t read Washington’s Blog before, but they also had this excellent rundown of the massive coverup of financial fraud today. The article links to many posts which we’ve discussed before from Marcy Kaptur, William Black, James Galbraith, Pam Martens, Dean Baker and others. Good stuff.

    • Stemella permalink*
      October 15, 2009 9:15 am

      Yeah, Washington is good. He cross posts frequently at Zero Hedge too. He is spot on.

      No recovery without prosecutions. No recovery until real estate fraud comes clean. No recovery because there’s no fucking justice. The DOJ is part of the scheme. No recovery for the likes of you and me.

  9. cometman permalink*
    October 15, 2009 7:23 am

    As the bailed out banks continue to report multi-billion dollar profits and hand out multi-million dollar bonuses, back in the real world of people who have to work for a living foreclosures continue at record levels. But there’s a silver lining!!!!!!! All the working stiffs should thank their lucky stars because according to the government there was no inflation last year and consumer prices actually declined!!!

    Now anyone who actually works for a living could probably tell you that was complete bullshit just by looking at their various monthly bills without even getting into the fact that the government routinely fudges the numbers on the Consumer Price Index to make it look like there’s no increase in prices when there most clearly is. And of course “no inflation” means there will be no cost of living increase in Social Security payments for the first time since cost of living increases were made mandatory in 1975.

    This is nothing but blatant “let them eat cake” class warfare. Rrrrrrrrrrrr.

    • Stemella permalink*
      October 15, 2009 9:07 am

      I think it is time to organize a million homeless march on Washington, filling the Mall with the tired, the poor …

      The huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
      The wretched refuse of all teeming shores.
      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to Barry.
      Raise their tents beside the White House door.

      (Not that much of DC and environs don’t already look like this)

      It is time to build Obamavilles in front of every state house and federal building and bank headquarters in every city.

      Enough of this sham wow ruling class scam rapine pillage.

      We have been divided and conquered at every level in this country. Somehow we must find unity in humanity. What is it going to take? Do we need martyrs to self immolate en masse in front of the White House as the Monks did in front of the Pentagon during the Vietnam War? Would anyone even respond today? I would guess not. The outrage would last less than 60 seconds.

      Speaking of pillage, Nomi Prin and Spitzer were on the Ratigan show this morning dissing Goldie Sux. Nomi said the only recourse we have right now is to demand the reinstatement of Glass Stegal, to listen to Volkner, not the Elvin and Cane Frog.

      But then you have Barney Tony the Tiger Franks out there capitulating to the lobbyists, willing to not only not re-regulate, but willing to undo some existing laws the pirates find too pesky. Arrrrrrrrrrgh!

      • cometman permalink*
        October 15, 2009 11:36 am

        Self immolation probably wouldn’t get covered. Sparking up a couple of whackjob teabaggers would probably do the trick though. The networks seem to like them :)

  10. cometman permalink*
    October 15, 2009 8:16 am

    Here in Maine of of the largest employers is MBNA which was bought by the assholes at BofA a few years back. Like most rat-fucker corporations they extorted the state by demanding huge tax breaks in exchange for not moving their operation to another state and putting lots of people on the unemployment rolls. I always thought the state should simply draw up plans to start their own lending institution which would be able to provide credit at non-usurious rates, provide jobs for people in the finance industry, and turn a profit for the state’s coffers at the same time. And then tell BofA not to let the door hit them in the ass on their way out of town. Of course that would require work and a little independent thought instead of simply rubber stamping whatever the lobbyists at the state house tell them to do.

    So instead Maine has decided to cave in to BofA despite having huge budget shortfalls and on top of that the Democratic party led legislature recently passed a tax law that cuts the tax rate for the wealthiest individuals and is still facing huge cuts in government services. The only thing these idiots could come up with the generate new revenue was a huge increase in cigarette taxes. Of course many of them would love to see casino development here to generate tax revenue but that horrible option keeps getting voted down by the electorate.

    So I was very pleased to read this article by Ellen Brown discussing plans by some states to create local state-run banks.

    Economist Farid Khavari, a Democratic candidate for governor of Florida in 2010, is proposing a Bank of the State of Florida (BSF) that would take full advantage of the potential of a bank charter. It would not only act as a depository for the state’s funds but would actually make loans to Floridians at much lower interest rates than they are getting now. Among other benefits, the BSF could open up frozen credit markets, save homeowners many thousands of dollars in payments, produce major revenues for the state, and allow the state’s own debts to be refinanced at much lower rates. All those benefits are possible, says Khavari, because of the “fractional reserve” banking system used by all banks when they make loans. As he explained in a July 29 article in Reuters:

    “Using the fractional reserve regulations that govern all banks, we can earn billions per year for Florida’s treasury, while saving thousands of dollars per year for Florida homeowners…For $100 in deposits, a bank can create $900 in new money by making loans. So, the BSF can pay 6% for CDs, and make mortgage loans at 2 percent. For $6 per year in interest paid out, the BSF can earn $18 by lending $900 at 2 percent for mortgages.

    “The BSF can be started at no cost to taxpayers, and will be a permanent engine driving Florida’s economy. We can refinance state and local projects at 3 percent, saving taxpayers billions and balancing state and local budgets without higher taxes.”

    The state would earn $15,000 per $100,000 of mortgage, at a cost of about $1,700; the homeowner would save $88,000 in interest and pay for the home 15 years sooner. “Our bank will save people about seven years of their pay over the course of 30 years, just on interest costs,” Khavari said. “We should work to support ourselves and our families, not the banks…What we have now…makes everyone work for a few greedy fat cats.”

    She explains in greater detail how the banking system operates and how local banking would work here.

    Hear hear!!! But will anybody hear? If this idea becomes more prominent, I’d expect to hear the same wailing and gnashing of teeth we are getting from the health care industry that if government starts providing services currently provided by private industry, private industry with its profit motive that must reward a bunch of charlatans with huge bonuses every year wouldn’t be able to compete. Boo fucking hoo. Corporations at one point were supposed to be formed to serve some public good or need. I don’t remember it written anywhere that corporations have some natural right to pillage the people they are supposed to be providing services for.

  11. Stemella permalink*
    October 15, 2009 9:08 am

    Intellectually Bankrupt, Firms Try to Squash Dissent

    And the beat goes on …

    • cometman permalink*
      October 15, 2009 11:40 am

      Funny, it’s never lawsuits like these that are mentioned when the assholes in DC bring up the need for tort reform.

  12. cometman permalink*
    October 15, 2009 11:49 am

    Bwaaaaahahahahahaha! Check out this review of the Killah from Wasilla’s new book – Sarah Palin Bears it All.

    This part killed me:

    Much has been speculated about Governor Palin’s undergraduate education extending, as it did, over four different schools. Fortunately, those speculations will now end, since Palin details her university experience and corrects the record.

    The movement from one school to the next (Hawaii Pacific University, where incidentally she was a student with Barack Obama; North Idaho College; Matanuska-Susitna College; and the University of Idaho), was all a planned peregrination. “At each university, I sought out the finest minds, the most demanding professors in order to probe their intellects for decoding the major philosophical questions that mankind has been concerned with since time immemorial.” Once she had taken courses from the most distinguished professors at an institution, then she moved on to another university where the process would begin all over again. “All American students,” she concludes, “would be better educated if they followed a similar plan. Always tap the greatest intellects no matter where you find yourself.”

    • Stemella permalink*
      October 15, 2009 2:27 pm

      jesus christ. Thank god I found drugs. Palin wouldn’t know Aristotle from her own butthole. Her story has clearly been spun on a loom made of magical disney dust.

      The audacity of dope.

      Thanks for the laughs!!

      • cometman permalink*
        October 16, 2009 8:22 am

        Ha! Glad you found your attitude adjustment yesterday :P I also liked the little blurb at the end of the review mentioning it was written before the writer had actually read her book.

  13. Stemella permalink*
    October 15, 2009 9:26 pm

    Shit appears to be hitting the fan more forcefully in Pakistan –
    Embattled Pakistan faces its worst-case scenario

    I went over to Juan Cole’s site to see if he wrote anything about it. There I found that freedom is definitely not on the march in Iraq

    Mortars were fired in Baghdad, killing 7, and three bombs went off in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, killing 4 and wounding 48. The bombings were near to holy Shiite shrines, which is extremely dangerous. The bombing of the golden dome at Samarra in February of 2006 set off a vicious Sunni-Shiite civil war that killed thousands each month. The shrine of Imam Husayn, the Prophet’s martyred grandson, in Karbala is among the holiest sites of Shiite Islam.

    Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has ordered the closing for one week of Mustansiriya University in downtown Baghdad and the banning of partisan political activity on campus. The moves alarmed the PM’s critics, who worry that he is gradually abolishing the freedom of speech in the new Iraq and making himself a strongman.

    Heckofa job Imperium America

  14. cometman permalink*
    October 16, 2009 8:40 am

    OK sports fans, I don’t usually post much about the agonistes here but this one needs to go on the record. Every once in a while somebody does something really unique that just brings a big smile to your face and this is one of those instances. This goal scored by a 9 year old Maine kid is about the sickest thing I’ve ever seen and I’ve watched a lot of hockey games.

    I caught an interview with this kid and his dad on ESPN last night. The father let the kid (who was very humble about it all) do most of the talking while he mainly just sat there, grinning from ear to ear with a “That’s my boy!!!!!!” look on his face. Priceless.

    • Stemella permalink*
      October 16, 2009 8:48 am

      That was a thing of beauty. I’ll bet that Dad was proud. Made me smile too and I can’t stand hockey! :-D

  15. Stemella permalink*
    October 16, 2009 8:51 am

    Here’s a great little visual of the bubbles blown and deflated in the job market in this country between 2004 and present. Pretty stunning.

    Geography of Jobs

    Someone should do the same with the salaries and bonuses of the banksters. Those bubbles need to be sabotaged with some 6 inch stiletto heels.

    • cometman permalink*
      October 16, 2009 9:33 am

      Interesting to note that the largest job gains were seen in DC. I’m assuming that is due to the expansion of our already bloated bureaucracy. I’m thinking thousands of new Homeland Security personnel aren’t really the kind of boost the economy needs.

  16. Stemella permalink*
    October 16, 2009 8:58 am

    Take a look at this heads up from Marla at ZH regarding light sweet crude. This arcane level of market analysis is above my head, but those hedgers have had good sniffers in the past. This may be a whiff of something fishy in the Gulf to keep an eye on in weeks ahead.

    Market noise?

    • cometman permalink*
      October 16, 2009 9:44 am

      Huh, somebody (or bodies) is betting that oil prices will spike dramatically in the next few weeks, because if the price isn’t over $100/barrel by November whoever took out the call options will lose their entire investment. She may be right that it’s just market noise because we’ve already seen stock prices being driven higher for no apparent reason and this could be a case of some traders noticing the bets being placed and deciding to follow the herd.

      But it does bring to mind the unusually high volume of put options that were placed on airline stocks shortly before the Trade Center attacks in 2001, in that case betting that prices would go down significantly. I don’t believe anyone ever figured out who placed those bets, but they were definitely made.

  17. cometman permalink*
    October 16, 2009 9:28 am

    More fiddling while Rome burns in the beltway. Hedge funds are weaseling their way into the revolving door lobbying game as a former Congressman has been hired to represent their interests and push their own “reforms”.

    Hedge fund managers – a secretive, lightly regulated group portrayed by some as villains in last year’s financial meltdown – appear to have a new degree of clout on Capitol Hill in shaping legislation that will determine how they will be regulated.

    To gain that clout, industry leaders are using a congressman-turned-lobbyist, a major increase in campaign donations, and a strategy that relies heavily on advancing their own reform ideas, making them active players in the legislative process and perhaps staving off more rigorous regulation measures.

    And what the hell kind of reporting is this at the end of the article:

    Many hedge fund managers are Democrats, including George Soros, who runs Soros Fund Management and has given millions of dollars to Democratic causes, including the liberal group

    Many are Democrats? Exactly how many Mr. lazy ass reporter? Is it a few hundred? Thousands? Is it even the majority of hedge fund managers? And what bearing does their political affiliation have in the first place? It isn’t as if republicans have been clamoring for new regulation of this industry – as a matter of fact it was republican Phil Gramm who led the charge to make sure derivatives wouldn’t be regulated in the first place. More than enough blame to go around from both parties for this debacle, but you wouldn’t know it by reading that kind of slovenly reporting.

    And yesterday a House panel voted to regulate derivative trading but threw in a loophole that the bankers could drive their fleets of Bentleys through.

    Democrats included an exemption for companies that use derivatives to protect against risk. The exemption was intended to distinguish between AIG and other financial institutions that use derivatives to make money, and manufacturers that rely on them to protect against a spike in fuel prices or fluctuating exchange rates.

    We’ve already seen these parasitic investment banks restructure their companies to make themselves eligible for hundreds of billions of dollars of free money. So now all these companies have to do is restructure themselves so that any derivative trading can be construed as protecting them against risk and voila!, no regulation needed.

    • Stemella permalink*
      October 16, 2009 12:00 pm

      As of today hedge funds might be getting a bit more scrutiny. There was a perp walk of one of the big hedge fund owners, Galleon’s Rajaratnam Galleon’s Rajaratnam Charged in Biggest Hedge Fund Insider Scheme

      There were a few others charged. Perhaps because of their connections others will be soon to fall.

      Also accused were Rajiv Goel, who worked at Intel Capital as a director in strategic investments, Anil Kumar, who worked as a director at McKinsey & Co., and IBM Corp. executive Robert Moffat. The former officials at Bear Stearns Asset Management are Danielle Chiesi and Mark Kurland, who were affiliated with the firm’s New Castle Partners, which managed about $1 billion.

      As to your last paragraph, spot on. These organizations transform themselves into whatever is outside the law. If there was any justice in this country their “personhood” status would be revoked and there would be far more perp walks. We are far too gone for that to happen though. It will take a total collapse to release the blood funnel.

  18. cometman permalink*
    October 16, 2009 10:32 am

    More hubris from the assholes at BofA. Obama’s “pay czar” has convinced CEO Ken Lewis not to take any pay for 2009. Lewis will still be getting a bonus of $69 million when he steps down, an order of magnitude or two more than most people make in their entire lifetimes, but that didn’t stop a company spokesperson from shooting off his fat yap:

    …the BofA expressed doubt as to whether the Obama administration would allow Lewis’ $69-million golden handshake to stand. “Since when does law apply to this administration?” [BofA spokesman] Stickler asked, musing about the possibility Lewis would lose his compensation package.

    Really?!?!?! After BofA has been handed undeserved billions to keep their sorry asses afloat? And while Lewis is currently facing charges that he broke a law or two himself? Not to mention all the blatant fraud committed by BofA and others in the financial industry which has been largely overlooked by the government for years.

    And why does Lewis deserve a freaking dime after losing $2.24 billion in the last three months despite all the taxpayer largesse they received?

    • Stemella permalink*
      October 16, 2009 11:32 am

      Hush money to protect the cover-up. It would be desirable to protect the players in the Fed and Treasury and whatever so called regulators is my guess.

      Speaking of fraud and banksters, here is another entertaining bit from Max Keiser on JP Morgan et al

      Meanwhile the MSM is enthralled with the stupid balloon boy story. They are fucking contemptibly negligent in their force feeding of the retarded, like so much ground corn stuffed down the gullet of a goose to make foie gras.

      • cometman permalink*
        October 16, 2009 12:18 pm

        Wow, Keizer really wasn’t having any of that obsequious little twit’s bullshit. That guy was nothing but a water carrier for the banksters. Amazing how he tried to rationalize that the banks really didn’t need to worry about the toxic assets on their books which they refuse to disclose because all the liquidity the banks have been handed will eventually work its way into the economy and make households solvent again which would in turn cause the value of bad mortgage assets the banks can’t get rid of to rise. Really? Correct me if I’m wrong here but last I checked people who weren’t able to make payments can’t just to go the the bank and ask them to wait for several months or a year or two for payment until some liquidity makes its way into their household. You don’t pay and you’re out, and there are millions of people getting booted right now which means those toxic assets aren’t going to increase in value any time soon.

        Only thing I disagreed with Keizer on was his crack about the peasants. I do know what he’s getting at and I’d like people to get pissed off enough to get some changes made to this bankrupt system. But check out this article about workers who did fight back. Their wages were going to be cut and the union went on strike and actually won, with the NLRB ruling in the striking workers’ favor. Then the company simply closes the plant and moves somewhere without a union where they can get away with paying cheaper wages. What the hell are these people supposed to do? As the article mentions similar new jobs in NYC are paying poverty wages – you can’t even rent a room for that kind of money in the city, much less get food and clothing. Try to kidnap a CEO like they do in France and in this country you’ll be thrown into Guantanomo on terrorism charges.

        All I do know is that it is going to get really ugly for these banksters and CEOs once enough people have nothing left to lose, and millions and millions of people are on their way there.

        • Stemella permalink*
          October 16, 2009 12:51 pm

          That article is heartbreaking. The fabric of this society is being shredded. Working people (as opposed to ruling class crooks and thieves) are being crushed. $14/hr to survive in a city? Zombie Reagan is smiling in his grave and Milton Friedman may have creamed in his. Greenspan proclaimed the weak dollar is no problem whatsoever. In fact everything is proceeding just as he and Milton had planned.
          Shock and awe.

  19. cometman permalink*
    October 16, 2009 12:21 pm

    Ralph reams Barney, and again mentions the only remedy that will make the parasite bankers change their ways:

    The issue is guilt and for that, prosecution, conviction and incarceration are the remedies. That is the only prospect that sobers up the corporate crooks.

  20. cometman permalink*
    October 16, 2009 12:40 pm

    More disintegration of the persistence of memory – scientists implant false memories in flies.

    • Stemella permalink*
      October 16, 2009 1:12 pm

      So next time someone says they see Jesus in their breakfast toast some scientist can tweak their neurons and say, nope, sorry, it was the brown acid. ;)

      This kind of power is wonderful and terrifying all at once.

  21. Stemella permalink*
    October 16, 2009 8:32 pm

    Here is Taibbi’s latest in RS: Wall Street’s Naked Swindle

    about naked short selling

    To the rest of the world, the brazenness of the theft — coupled with the conspicuousness of the government’s inaction — clearly demonstrates that the American capital markets are a crime in progress. To those of us who actually live here, however, the news is even worse. We’re in a place we haven’t been since the Depression: Our economy is so completely fucked, the rich are running out of things to steal.

    • cometman permalink*
      October 19, 2009 6:52 am

      That was another tremendous article from Taibbi – he does a great job of explaining a fairly difficult to understand issue. There was a lot of confusion between short selling and naked short selling in the media, deliberately or otherwise, on the few occasions they even bothered to discuss it at all. I didn’t know until reading his article that it was legitimate short selling that was banned on financial stocks once Goldman itself and others started to tank and whoever pulled the strings to make that happen needs to be investigated too because that is complete and utter bullshit.

      I hadn’t heard about the similar problems with Treasuries before either. Hopefully he’ll have another article coming out explaining that in greater detail.

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